Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Live Simply Without Thinking Too Much

On of my greatest struggles is to learn how to live simply without thinking too much. If I am not careful, I find myself thinking about future events and developing anxiety and worry over something that most likely will never happen. It is an act of placing my trust in my own thinking rather than in God.

Jusus told His disciples the following when they asked Him, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
"I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

What is the characteristic of little children. They are present in the moment. They do not put everything to a logical thought process. They are attentive and present. This is the kind of simplicity we are all called to maintain.

This involves learning not to put our faith in our thoughts. This is most difficult as we have gained skills to survive in the world, professions and so forth, based on knowledge gained through education and by using our logical minds. We have learned how to manipulate things to our own benefit. This is all well and good, but we must come to see this as a very low form of knowledge. It is knowledge that is based in our brain and attached only to earthly things. It is capable of only solving small problems and even then only temporarily.

Elder Paisios says,
"The devil does not hunt after those who are close to God. He takes from them trust in God and begins to afflict them with self-assurance, logic, thinking, criticism. therefore we should not trust our logical minds. Never believe your thoughts.
Live simply and without thinking too much, like a child with his father. Faith without too much thinking works wonders. the logical mind hinders the Grace of God and miracles. Practice patience without judging with the logical mind."

Our challenge is to refer our problems to our higher mind. The results of logical thought is the product of our ego and our efforts made with an illusion of self-sufficiency. Ask yourself, "How often do I refer my problems to God? When I do, am I capable of listening?" This will help focus our spiritual development. For whatever comes from our logical mind is not likely to be coming from God.

As proof of this look at the political debate we see taking place today on almost any issue. Before anyone has a chance to fully explain their view, they are interrupted with an opposing answer. These divergent views cannot becoming from God. We are not seeking enlightenment nor even applying our reason to issues. We are stuck on our ego based prejudices and opinions, our own generated thoughts. We never enter into a true dialogue seeking God's truth on the matter.

Elder Paisios observes,
"Almost all of us view thoughts as being something simple and natural, and that is why we naively trust them. However, we should neither trust them nor accept them.
Thoughts are like airplanes flying in the air. If you ignore them, there is no problem. If you pay attention to them, you create an airport inside your head and permit them to land.!" (Christ the Eternal tao, Hieromonk Damascene, p.318)

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